Stuart’s $100 Bills

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George Washington sat for three portraits by Gilbert Stuart. The last, commissioned by Mrs. Washington, is the painting we all know—unfinished. That was so Stuart could honestly tell Martha he hadn’t quite finished her husband’s portrait, while he made copies of it that sold for one hundred dollars each. He turned out at least seventy while the Washingtons waited with mounting impatience. Finally George showed up at the studio and demanded it, but to no avail. The portrait was still unfinished when Stuart died in 1828.